While passengers at Toronto and Hamilton International Airports were waiting to board their flight to Calgary, a virtual Santa Claus learned what passengers wanted for Christmas. After everyone boarded their flights, 150 merry WestJetters became Santa’s helpers, taking off to a shopping spree to deliver personalized gifts to guests arriving in Calgary as part of a true holiday miracle. Guests were surprised upon arrival when a festively decorated baggage carousel came to life. On this special day, it was not just their suitcases that arrived, but the gifts they had asked for merely hours before. (
Guests were surprised upon arrival when a festively decorated baggage carousel came to life. On this special day, it was not just their suitcases that arrived, but the gifts they had asked for merely hours before. (Source)
While all this, being, in the end, a propaganda scheme, has very little to do with the authentic meaning of Christmas, it still might have a few lessons to teach us about our faith.
There are many ways one might look at the Santa Claus phenomena. Leaving the obvious economic and marketing dimensions aside, it is interesting to ask why we find such a figure so fascinating. I think, on one level, there is something in all of us that says what we see day in and day out isn’t enough; it can’t be. The rising influence of new-age thinking reveals that man is looking for something more than the ordinary – albeit in the wrong places.
On the other hand, I wonder if somewhere inside of us there is a sort of innate hope and trust that there is truly someone out there that is looking after us, listening to our concerns, doing what he can to help us in our time of need. One might even say that Santa Claus, albeit a fairytale, is the figure closest to representing (although in certainly an extremely reduced representation) a sort of pure charity, a living Agape, in today’s utterly secular mindset. I also find it amazing that we still allow someone to make such pretentious moral judgments as “naughty or nice”.
If you want to measure your belief and trust in someone, pose yourself the question: what would you ask from them? Although it is possible that they desperately needed new socks or a pair of Santa boots, I think we can safely assume that they were taking the virtual Santa Claus pretty lightly. They regretted this, of course, the moment they realized that something real was happening and that had they asked for more, they could have received it.
How often do we do the same with God? How often when God asks us what we desire, we respond with a silent inner chuckle and say, “I would like a new pair of socks”. God the Father, in sending His son to live and die, gave us everything: eternal life, happiness, reconciliation, etc… and, yet, we wander around day to day as if it were all a fairytale, a propaganda scheme that some genius came up with to make us buy a product. Oh, we of little faith!
The measure of your belief can be determined by the measure of your hope in Christ. Thus, the critique that the Catholic faith brings to the world isn’t that it asks for too much, rather that it asks for too little. We ask for socks, for tablets, for cars, yet we refuse to ask for authentic joy, true fulfillment, eternal life… Oh Christians, recognize who you are! Know the greatness to which Christ calls you! Because the true day of gift giving will be the day of judgment. Christ will stand before us and give us exactly what we asked for. Those who asked for little or nothing will be, unfortunately, given precisely that. Those who asked for everything will be given precisely that.
All this, however, begins with one’s faith in Christ. If Christ is real, everything changes, not an inch of existence escapes his influence. If He is real, then your life, your dreams, your hopes, your wishes must change as well!
Advent, then, is a perfect time to ask ourselves: How much do we believe in Christ? How much do we believe in his sublime promises? If we find ourselves caught up in the whirls of consumerism or activism this season, remember that Christ offers you something more much than any virtual Santa Claus. Remember that the young rich man didn’t walk away sad because he had asked for too much, rather because he was content with too little.
“One could say that man is alive as long as he waits, as long as hope is alive in his heart. And from his expectations, man recognizes himself: our moral and spiritual “stature” can be measured by what we wait for, by what we hope for.” Pope Benedict XVI
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